top of page

Conquering Half Dome: A Thrilling Yosemite Hiking Adventure | Hexxiigon|

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

First Time Hiking?

Nestled amidst the breathtaking Sierra Nevada mountain range lies Yosemite National Park, a nature lover's paradise. While the park is renowned for its stunning vistas and awe-inspiring waterfalls, the real jewel in the crown is Half Dome—a majestic granite dome that lures adventurers from around the world. Hiking Half Dome is a bucket-list experience, offering an unforgettable challenge and an opportunity to witness some of nature's most remarkable wonders up close. However, before you embark on this epic journey, you need to secure a permit for this extraordinary adventure and I know you're not going to believe this but you also don't need a permit. I know contradicting.

Super Steep Steps With Beautiful Views During Mist Trail
Beautiful Waterfall Cascading Down

The Hike to Half Dome:

The Half Dome hike is a strenuous 16 to 18-mile round trip, depending on your starting point and the route you choose. Most hikers begin their trek from the Happy Isles trailhead, located near Curry Village. The trail initially follows the misty Merced River before ascending through a lush forest of pines and firs. As you gain elevation, prepare to be rewarded with mesmerizing vistas of Vernal and Nevada Falls, which are excellent places to take a breather and soak in the beauty of Yosemite.

Half Dome Cables Right Behind Me | Hike Half Dome
How to Hike Half Dome

The Sublime Subdome:

After approximately 8 miles, you'll reach the base of Subdome, a massive granite formation resembling a smaller sibling to Half Dome. The ascent up Subdome is steep and challenging, but the view from the top is undeniably worth the effort. It serves as a preview of the breathtaking scenery that awaits at the summit of Half Dome.

The Iconic Cables:

The final stretch of the hike involves navigating the famous cables section, a near-vertical climb that requires the use of cables and wooden planks to ascend safely. It's not for the faint-hearted, but with proper preparation and a steady nerve, most hikers find it to be an exhilarating part of the journey. As you ascend, the sheer drops and panoramic views will leave you in awe of the majesty of nature.

Getting the Permit:

To preserve the natural beauty and protect visitors, Yosemite National Park requires all hikers intending to summit Half Dome to obtain a permit. The permit system is designed to manage the number of hikers attempting the climb each day, ensuring the safety and sustainability of the trail.

Mist Trail Leads to Half Dome
Mist Falls Towards Half Dome | Be Ready To Get Wet

To secure a permit, you'll need to plan well in advance. The permits are typically available through a lottery system, and the application process opens several months before the hiking season begins. You can find all the necessary information about the permit application process on the official Yosemite National Park website (

Tips for a Successful Hike:

  1. Plan Ahead: Research the trail, understand the difficulty level, and check the weather forecast before setting out. Ensure you are physically prepared for the demanding hike.

  2. Obtain Permits Early: As mentioned earlier, obtaining a permit is crucial, so mark the application dates on your calendar and be ready to apply.

  3. Stay Hydrated and Energized: Carry enough water and snacks to keep your energy levels up throughout the hike.

  4. Start Early: Begin your hike before sunrise to avoid crowds and give yourself plenty of time to complete the trek safely.

  5. Dress Appropriately: Wear sturdy hiking shoes and comfortable clothing suitable for changing weather conditions.

  6. Safety First: Always follow park regulations, respect wildlife, and stay on designated trails.


Hiking Half Dome in Yosemite National Park is a challenging adventure that offers an unparalleled opportunity to connect with nature and test your physical and mental limits. The reward for your efforts is an awe-inspiring view from the summit that will leave an indelible mark on your memory. Remember, securing a permit is the first step on this incredible journey, so plan ahead, be prepared, and get ready to conquer one of Yosemite's most iconic landmarks. Happy hiking!

Secret Pointers

  1. You can hike Half Dome without a permit. If you're up to the random adventure you can get to the base of sub-dome and ask the ranger to hike passed him/her with someone who holds a permit and did not bring everyone in their reservation together. You can also wait and see if another hiker is willing to give you their permit if they decide not to do it. (Trust me -- you will meet people along the hike that will share things about their group or someone else backing out.)



bottom of page